nothingspecial wrote:I hope that wasn't too long winded, but it's been bugging me for half a year and was thinking this would be the most appropriate place to ask.
If you're using existing video game characters for the purpose of making fun of those games, then it's protected as parody. It's probably a good idea to change their names, just to be sure.
If you're using existing video game characters and just writing your own stories with them, it gets more iffy. They would definitely have a case against you. Of course, that doesn't mean they're likely to actually sue you. But then again, they might.
Because this is something I like more than most of my ideas, I want to do it right, rather than just use the thinking "I only get X hits, so what is Nintendo going to care?" Yeah, I doubt I'd ever get sued, but I'd rather make the extra effort and do it right.
Unfortunately, making matters more complicated, the VG character strips would straddle the grey line you've drawn. Some would be making fun of things that happen in the games. Others would be about how I feel they would react to certain situations (and thus be less parody like). In an instance of the former, Bowser takes Donkey Kong to task for appearing in games as a hero as well as a villian, questioning his whole identity. On the other hand, some will feature stuff like Link using his "in-game" items (like the hookshot or pegasus boots) to get somewhere on time. So, it does both. Does one use doom the other? Does the fact that neither is the primary form of the comic, but rather is just a cultural reference within antoher comic affect matters at all?
Kris X wrote:What I do to avoid such is post a Disclaimer at the bottom of my comic image. Also, a popular technique is to re-write their name or mis-spell the name. Above all, I do suggest a disclaimer stating that you borrowed the character and all rights are tagged to the original creator.
EDIT: Maybe it'd be best if you created your own stereotypical video game characters (aka original) and avoid all of the above.
Yeah, I was thinking of changing the names to things like "Smario", "Smink", and "Smuigi".
Without a doubt, even if it were undeniable parody, I would cite the copyrights that it inspired it, likely with a recognition of the copyrights on the main page along with a link to the cast page to show exactly which copyrights belonged to whom.
As for the stereotypical characters, I assume you mean something like what the TV show "Gameover" did, right? While it could be an interesting exercise, I am reluctant just because I want to tap into a lot of the nostalagia that I share with other gamers for the classic videogames. Still, if there's no way to do what I want with the copyrighted characters, that definitely is a good plan B.
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